PCB Manufacturers Resources

How unusual to find a review of PCB manufacturers on a site about making your own PC boards. Well, sometimes one needs alternatives.

PCB Manufacturers Resources

OSH Park

OSH Park is an aggregator. They collect your board files and panelize them with others to get a good price. The price is not the lowest around, but the quality is exceptional. The pads are ENIG (gold) finished, and the solder mask is purple.

The panels go to the manufacturer when they are full, and that may or may not be every day. The turnaround time is stated at around two weeks, but my experience was a couple of days faster. A 100mm x 100mm (3.937 x 3.937 inches) design runs US$77.50 delivered and you get 3 boards. They can be found at oshpark.com.

PCBWay

3pcb.com

I ran into PCBWay while I was looking for an ultra-cheap source for testing PCB design software. Their pricing is good, at US$5 for 10 boards of up to 100mm x 100mm. Shipping is via DHL Worldwide, and is US$21. $26 total for 10 boards, and I can order on Saturday and receive them in the USA on Wednesday or Thursday. They operate 24 x 7, but only review submitted files for about 16hrs per day.

You can get green, red, yellow, blue, white or black solder mask for the same price. The text layer is white on all colors except white soldermask, which has black text. Also available, but at considerably higher prices are purple, flat green and flat black. There are other places selling the same type of product, but I get great quality and a wait of only 4-5 days for the boards. Check them out at pcbway.com.

I've used them for about 11 different boards now and I have found the quality to be consistently good. Another thing that is interesting: I usually get 11 boards when I order 10.

Both PCBWay and 3PCB are owned and/or operated by HK Weiku Information & Technology Co., Ltd., but the company is actually known as JDB Technology in China.

PCB GoGo

Another JDB Technology company - you can tell by the web page - but this one goes by the name. Similar pricing, but slightly higher shipping ($25 vs.$20)

Seeed Studio Fusion PCB

Seeed Fusion Service offers one-stop prototyping service for PCB, PCBA, PCB stencil and other electronic and mechanical customized service. The price of 10pcs double layer is $9.90. And the standard soldermask color is green, red, yellow, blue, white, black. Seeed is good enough in small size, you also can buy bigger PCBs through their service.

You may recognize Seeed Studio from the Arduino-compatibles they make. They are in the top three open-source hardware companies worldwide.

Smart Prototyping

I found this outfit, which is based in Hong Kong and has a factory in Shenzhen, in the same way I found PCBWay - looking for dirt cheap PC boards. I was less interested in the quality of the boards than in the worthiness of my files. They want $11.90 for the same 10 boards as PCBWay, and the quality appears to be nearly as good. I'm speaking of cosmetics - the boards test fine. The difference is in the shipping. They ship via Swiss Post by default, which takes about 15 days to reach my place. Shipping for the 10 boards was $9.37 for a total of $21.27.

Only green soldermask is available at the $11.90 price - yellow, red, blue, and white are $8.50 extra, and black is $19.00 more.

I accidentally sent them bad files one time. They let me know in a few hours so I could fix it. One email each way and I had a good order. After a couple of weeks I received the boards and they were true to the design, proving my Gerber files were good, which was all this was about in the first place. Find them at smart-prototyping.com.

BasicPCB

Basic PCB has services similar to Smart Prototyping, but they do not let you choose which surface finish, copper weight, solder mask color or silkscreen color. They give you what they have running when you order, I guess. The cost for 10 of our sample boards is $172.47, and there is a 6 day turnaround time. If you only want green mask and lead-free HASL, the cost goes up to $201.05 for the same boards. Find them at BasicPCB.com.

ExpressPCB

This is a US manufacturer who specializes in quick turnaround service. Using their "Standard Service" which is for any board that doesn't fit their "MiniBoard" 2.5 inch by 3.8 inch format, you can get two 100mm x 100mm boards without soldermask or silkscreen for $98.35 delivered in three business days.

The cost for "Production Service", with soldermask and silkscreen, jumps to $270.40 and requires a 10-day manufacturing time. I have never used this particular service, but I have used the production MiniBoard service, which includes soldermask and silkscreen, and the quality is very high.

They provide their own software for schematic capture and PCB artwork. It is without a doubt the easiest software to use, but you will find it ties you to either their service or to Futurlec.

Pad2Pad

Like ExpressPCB, Pad2Pad provides not only software, but PCB fabrication capabilities and is affiliated with eMachineShop. Quality is reportedly high and pricing low. A good combination.

Futurlec

Futurlec, known for parts mainly, also provides PC boards through a mainland China supplier. Our 100mm x 100mm sample PCB is US$173 in 10's. Their quality is Ok, they often ship more than I order, and it takes forever for the boards to arrive. I waited over a month the first time I ordered. The manufacturing time was 6 days, and the rest was shipping time. You can visit them at Futurlec.com